This week money is flowing out of our checking account like lava out of an exploding volcano. Kaboom! There go hundreds of dollars for new tires. Pow! There’s the birthday gift for a kid we barely know. Sizzle! There go two extra tanks of gas for trips to Grand Rapids. And finally-plop! That last bit of lava is the steaming hot vacation money, falling out of our pockets as we head north for the weekend.
The volcano is eating us alive! Well, sort of. Lucky for us, we’re kind of budgeting nuts around here. And by budgeting nuts, I mean we have color-coded spreadsheets, a computer program that tracks our spending to the penny, and stacks of books from Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial Ministries on our bedside tables. We’ve spent almost eleven years getting our finances in order.
As you can imagine, sometimes this is not fun. Many times it is terribly not fun. For example, today it is well over 95 degrees outside, and we refuse to pay for air conditioning in this house. We are sweaty. We are grumpy. We are about to go to Wal-Mart and enjoy their air conditioning for an hour.
However, there are times that Eric and I grin at each other, knowing full well that all that stinky financial self-control is paying off. We’ve already counted the cost (as much as we are able) so when the volcano explodes on us, we are prepared. We have new tires for the trip up north, where we will cheerfully support the local economy by paying $6 for a gallon of milk and some bread. Bring it on, Tourist Traps! We are prepared for your outrageous prices.
Jesus advocated the concept of counting the cost before committing to a project. In Luke 14 He discussed the sacrifices neccessary if we want to carry our crosses, build a large project, or even go off to war. Anything we do has a cost associated with it. Are we prepared to pay it? Have we considered the sacrifices we must make in one area to fully fund a higher goal? Jesus said:
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish…’33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. (Luke 14:28-30 & 33, NIV, biblegateway.com)
It’s my prayer for you today that you are also fully counting the cost of your choices (financial or otherwise). It can feel like a huge bummer at first, but the pay off is completely worth it!